Peach Bowl: Alter’s Hicks back at Ohio State practice after injury scare

ATLANTA — Ohio State’s open practice window Wednesday in Atlanta provided some welcome sights at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Among the most newsworthy was that of C.J. Hicks on the field practicing with the kickoff return team.

That was notable because the true freshman from Dayton was last seen leaving the field at Ohio Stadium with an apparent knee injury suffered on the first play of the Michigan game.

The Alter High School product was the No. 1-ranked prospect in Ohio last season and Ohio State’s highest-rated recruit in the class of 2022.

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With Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers locking down the starting linebacker jobs, Hicks’ work was primarily limited to special teams in the regular season, and he was back out there wearing a brace on his right knee.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder played in 11 games and was credited with six tackles during the regular season.

Reporters in attendance for a brief viewing window of practice also saw Matt Jones in pads, confirming word a day earlier from offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson that Jones should be good to go for the Bulldogs and their talented interior defensive line.

The team’s starting right guard, Jones missed the Michigan game after going out late in the win at Maryland the week before. His right ankle was heavily taped Wednesday.

On a negative note, running back Miyan Williams was not visible anywhere on the field Wednesday while reporters were allowed to watch.

The team’s leading rusher was “under the weather” the previous day according to teammates, but no other update was available Wednesday.

Williams, a third-year sophomore from Cincinnati, ran for 817 yards despite missing all of two games and parts of others with injuries this season.

He started the Michigan game but carried only eight times for 34 yards and appeared to be favoring a sore ankle he rolled in the win over Indiana two weeks earlier.

Sophomore TreVeyon Henderson, who began the season splitting carries with Williams, is already out with a foot injury, so on Wednesday the Buckeyes were down to true freshman Dallan Hayden and junior Chip Trayanum at running back.

Hayden had three 100-yard games in relief during the season, but his role was limited against Michigan as the staff chose instead to feature Trayanum, who was playing linebacker at the beginning of the season.

Also of note from the open practice: Zak Herbstreit was spotted wearing a practice jersey with the No. 19 on it, apparently making him the scout team’s stand-in for Georgia star tight end Brock Bowers.

Herbstreit, a walk-on from Tennessee, is the son of former Ohio State and Centerville quarterback Kirk Herbstreit, who is scheduled to be on ESPN’s broadcast of the Peach Bowl on Saturday night.

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